We are pumped to feature an amazing teacher from Alpine School District today. Like many teachers, her love and commitment to her students and the profession are awe-inspiring. Read on to learn more about her career!
Where did you do your teacher prep? Weber State University
Where have you taught in your teaching career? American Fork High School
What is the funniest thing a student has ever said? When I was student teaching I was standing in front of the classroom giving instructions and a 7th grade girl interrupted me by aggressively raising and waiving her hands. I stopped what I was doing and called on her. She said “Mrs. Ormond, you have worn a different pair of shoes every day you have been here.” She then proceeded to list off 2 weeks worth of shoes and explained each outfit I had worn with them. I have students who make me laugh everyday, but this particular event helped me to realize early on that many of my students do not care about the subject so I need to make it relevant and motivate students by being approachable and building relationships first so that maybe they can get past what I am wearing and actually learn some biology.
What advice would you give to new teachers? No student ever wakes up and thinks “I am going to school to fail today!” When a student misbehaves or seems lazy or disinterested, that is the time to talk to them and find out why. Once you know what is at the core of their behavior, you can be successful with any type of student. To summarize, basically assume that every person you meet, student, parent, co-worker, is doing the best with the skill set they have. If they are lacking, find out how to contribute to or enhance their skill set. Also pace yourself, make sure to make a friend in your building and do your best to maintain personal time.
Describe any experience you have had in education policy. For most of my career, I have focused on how to implement policy at the school level. While I was at BYU, I was part of the secondary ed committee where I learned a lot about teacher licensing and how the universities are working to implement underfunded and often unrealistic education policy in teacher education programs. During this time, I spent a lot of time researching and coming to an understanding how education is administered in Utah from the legislature to the school board and how it eventually is implemented at the school level. Currently, I am a member of the USTA board and have taken an active interest in understanding the process it will take to get new science standards written and implemented and the role of the school board and other policy bodies in this process.
What’s the biggest change you would like to see in education? I think students need us to continue to change our instruction from teacher centered to more student centered and mastery based learning opportunities. I hate that my children are subject to extremely punitive classroom policies that focus more on doing, than learning. For teachers, I think teacher contracts should be extended to include time and money for collaboration and professional development. Most teachers spend much of summer working and improving their skills, primarily on their own time and money. Like in other industries the expectation and ability to learn and grow in the profession should be embedded in the process and not left up to individual efforts. There should also be a way for teachers to be leaders without having to go into admin. These roles should include pay raises.
Why did you choose to become an educator and why do you choose to stay in the profession? I actually feel like teaching chose me! I started out in a science related field and had many personal opportunities to teach and coach. I quickly realized that I had a knack for it and felt personally fulfilled when I got to have a hand in the learning experiences of others. I have stayed because I am driven to be the best teacher I can possibly be and I haven’t gotten their yet! I love my colleagues and my students. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to change or at least enhance the lives of my students as much as they contribute to mine. I also love my subject and I am motivated by the fact that I get to learn more every single day.
Thanks Michelle for taking time to share your thoughts with us! To continue learning from Michelle’s experience follow her on Twitter @michelleormond